How do you say goodbye to a pet? They’re a member of your family – with you through the good times and the bad.
Zhenia Bulawka, a photographer from Baltimore, Maryland, wanted to do something to honor her 11-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier’s last days. So she assembled a heartwarming photo series about her family, documenting their final trip together before Dyuki, or Mr. Dukes, passed away from grade III mast cell cancer.
The family took a three hour road trip to the beach so that Mr. Dukes could swim in the ocean for the first time.
Here’s Bulawka’s boyfriend, Christian, snuggling with two of their three pups.
Who needs fine dining when you have sandwiches and a whole beach to yourself?
They all watched the sunset from their hotel balcony…
Followed by an evening walk on the beach…
And a little TV before bed.
Violet, Mr. Dukes’ sister, was the first to get up for the second day at the beach.
Here’s the whole furfamily together, with Mr. Dukes on the left.
Sadly, Dyuki passed a month after the family’s trip. It’s clear that his parents gave him a full, happy life. This is what Bulawka had to say about her late companion:
“Dukes was my best friend. He was also my muse, as his passion for life served as a constant source of inspiration to me. I could never tire of photographing him. Since his passing, I’ve been told numerous times ‘how lucky Dukes was to have me.’ But in fact, it was me who was so lucky to have him. He was the smartest, funniest, most loyal, incredibly strong, yet equally sensitive dog all wrapped into one perfect pittie package. He changed my life and I will miss him forever.”